2014-08-01 / Community

DISCOVER LOVERS KEY

By Susan L. Suarez
Friends of Lovers Key


Kayakers paddle the estuary at Lovers Key State Park. 
Contributed Kayakers paddle the estuary at Lovers Key State Park. Contributed With the sun on your back, a refreshing breeze cools your brow and ripples the water all around you. You see an egret hunting for fish at the edge of the mangroves, while above an osprey soars across the sky. As you paddle your kayak nearly noiselessly through the estuary, you realize there is not another boat or human in sight. Then, a voice behind says “Hey, honey, look over here. It’s a manatee!”

Kayakers appreciate the abundant wildlife, wellmarked trail, and beauty of the area at Lovers Key State Park. “It is a great place for novices and families because the area is protected by mangroves and there are no power boats on our trail,” says Todd Richards, of Lovers Key Adventures. “And more experienced paddlers can choose to do the entire fivemile trail or go out into Estero Bay and the Gulf.”

Jen Norqual of Naples brought her young family to kayak at Lovers Key. “We loved the diversity – there were areas that were completely private and then there is the action over at the dog beach with all the dogs playing in the water. Later we beached our kayaks and walked over to the Gulf side to have our picnic. We found interesting driftwood and sand dollars. The Gulf was a bit rough so we did not venture out there, but there is plenty to explore in the backwater. The kids (ages 5 and 11) loved it.”


Paddlers (and riders) may be lucky to glimpse a manatee. 
Contributed Paddlers (and riders) may be lucky to glimpse a manatee. Contributed Kayaking is a great way to explore Lovers Key State Park. There is a well-marked trail that goes in and around Black Island for two and a half miles (five miles round trip.) Estero Bay and the Gulf are also accessible from the kayak launch. Manatees are often present and can be very friendly. Please remember not to touch or feed them.

Kayaks (single and double), canoes, and stand up paddle boards are available to rent at the park, or you can bring your own. Call 765-7788 for more information.

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